The 2018 NBA Draft is fast approaching and it’s perfect timing for the final mock draft. How will your team fare?
This is the fourth and final edition in our NBA mock draft series here at ESNY. Players are holding their workouts and teams are adjusting their big boards accordingly. Some prospects are rising and others have fallen. Nothing is definite but here we go.
The Suns have been trying to find their franchise center for a few years. Players like Tyson Chandler, Dragan Bender and Alex Len have failed to meet the expectations that were placed on them when they were acquired by Phoenix. They found their man in the 7-foot-1, 250-pound Ayton. He averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 33.5 minutes per game during his freshman year. His defense is not great but it is an improvement over anything that the Suns have on their roster.
This is where the draft starts to get interesting. The Kings have a few options at their disposal. They could trade back and acquire more assets. Sacramento could take a chance on the European sensation. Instead, they pair DeAaron Fox with a frontcourt running mate. Marvin Bagley III averaged 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game on his way to winning the ACC Player of the Year award. He has the superstar potential that the Kings’ roster is lacking.
The Atlanta Hawks find themselves smack dab in the middle of a complete rebuild. With a need at every position, they can take the best player available. Jaren Jackson Jr. is a versatile big man who has the tools to succeed in today’s NBA. The 6-foot-11, 242-pounder averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 3.0 blocks in only 21.8 minutes per game. He shot 39.6 percent from behind the three-point line on 2.7 attempts per game. The former Spartan also shot 79.7 percent from the foul line.
Not going higher in this draft is a blessing for Luka Doncic. He ends up landing in the best spot to win now. Adding the EuroLeague Most Valuable Player to a roster that includes a healthy Mike Conley and Marc Gasol puts the Grizzlies right back into the playoffs. Doncic averaged 16.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.1 steals this season for Real Madrid. All this is dependent on Memphis keeping the pick. They have let teams know that they will listen to offers.
Mohamed Bamba has probably received the most positive hype of any of the prospects since the season ended. His pre-draft workout videos are the buzz of the internet. Bamba averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game as a Longhorn. His 3.7 blocks per game led the Big 12 Conference and were second in the entire NCAA. Dallas finds their anchor in the paint to build around. Bamba along with second-year player Dennis Smith Jr. could be the foundation of a young core to usher in the post-Dirk era.
The Orlando Magic have been in rebuild mode ever since Dwight Howard skipped town. This will be the fifth draft out of the last six that they have had a top six pick. One position they have failed to address is the point guard position. That is until now. Trae Young busted on the scene during his freshman year in Norman. He led the NCAA in points per game (27.4) and assists per game (8.7). Defense is the concern when it comes to Young. His potential on offense though is too high for the Magic to pass.
The Chicago Bulls have assembled a solid roster for the future. One of the final pieces to the puzzle is the center position. Wendell Carter Jr. is the prototypical big man for today’s NBA. He can control the paint and space the floor on offense. Carter Jr. averaged 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.1 blocks per game. He shot 56.1 percent from the floor as a Blue Devil. The 6-foot-10, 252-pounder connected on 41.3 percent of his attempted three-point shots. His player efficiency rating of 28.2 ranked second in the ACC.
Cleveland finds themselves in a tough situation this summer. Their hands are tied because of LeBron James and his pending decision. Do they trade the pick for a player to help win now? Should they use the pick to build for the future? During the finals, the Cavaliers missed Kyrie Irving. Collin Sexton can come in and be that lead guard. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound freshman averaged 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He shot 33.6 percent from behind the three-point line.
9) New York Knicks- Mikal Bridges, SG/SF - Villanova
The one consistent issue for the New York Knicks the past few seasons has been defending the perimeter. Last season they ranked 27th in the league in opponents three-point percentage (35.2). Mikal Bridges can step right in and improve those numbers. He averaged 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game last season. The 6-foot-7, 191-pound wing will also contribute on the offensive end. Bridges averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebound and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 43.5 percent from deep.
The Philadelphia 76ers have the good fortune of possessing a top ten pick and not needing to rush their development. Lonnie Walker IV is one of the rawest prospects in this draft. He has been climbing up draft boards steadily throughout this entire process. The 6-foot-4, 192-pound guard is a scorer and slasher. Playing alongside Ben Simmons will create open shots and open lanes. He is also an asset on the defensive end of the court.
- 11) Charlotte Hornets- Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF – Missouri
- 12) Los Angeles Clippers*- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG – Kentucky
- 13) Los Angeles Clippers- Robert Williams, PF/C – Texas A&M
- 14) Denver Nuggets- Miles Bridges, SF/PF – Michigan State
- 15) Washington Wizards- Zhaire Smith, SG – Texas Tech
- 16) Phoenix Suns*- Aaron Holiday, PG – UCLA
- 17) Milwaukee Bucks- Kevin Knox, SF/PF – Kentucky
- 18) San Antonio Spurs- Troy Brown Jr., SF – Oregon
- 19) Atlanta Hawks*- Gary Trent Jr., SG – Duke
- 20) Minnesota Timberwolves*- Keita Bates-Diop, SF – Ohio State
- 21) Utah Jazz- Dzanan Musa, SF – Bosnia
- 22) Chicago Bulls*- Chandler Hutchison, SF – Boise State
- 23) Indiana Pacers- Jacob Evans, SG – Cincinnati
- 24) Portland Trailblazers- Anfernee Simons, PG – IMG Academy
- 25) Los Angeles Lakers- Mitchell Robinson, C – Western Kentucky
- 26) Philadelphia 76ers- Jalen Brunson, PG – Villanova
- 27) Boston Celtics- Brandon McCoy, C – UNLV
- 28) Golden State Warriors- Khyri Thomas, PG – Creighton
- 29) Brooklyn Nets*- Bruce Brown Jr., SG – Miami
- 30) Atlanta Hawks*- Trevon Duval, PG – Duke
- The Cleveland Cavaliers receive the pick from the Brooklyn Nets
- The Philadelphia 76ers receive the pick from the Los Angeles Lakers
- The Los Angeles Clippers receive the pick from the Detroit Pistons
- The Phoenix Suns receive the pick from the Miami Heat
- The Atlanta Hawks receive the pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves
- The Minnesota Timberwolves receive the pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder
- The Chicago Bulls receive the pick from the New Orleans Pelicans
- The Brooklyn Nets receive the puck from the Toronto Raptors
- The Atlanta Hawks receive the pick from the Houston Rockets